“I am thirsty” John 19:28 (NIV)
I have learned long ago that physical pain can sap the energy from a person and cloud their thinking. Once I attended a person who was in great physical pain and they cried for their long deceased mother. Another kept repeating Psalm 34:1 that says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (KJV)
It was as though he was using the verse as a mantra hoping the repetition would alter his situation. He might have been saying it over and over in order to keep himself from despair in his tragic situation. Certainly he desired to honour God in all of his life situations.
We wonder about the clarity of Jesus’ thinking as He endured such physical and spiritual suffering on the cross. Was He rational or was He drifting in and out of consciousness? The answer is in the context of our verse for today.
Up to now Jesus had not mentioned His physical suffering although we know it had to be extreme. The reason for His reference to His physical pain is given in the words preceding our quotation.
Jesus spoke of His thirst “so that the Scripture might be fulfilled” John 19:28 (NIV). It says in Psalm 69:21 “They…gave vinegar for my thirst” (NIV); and Psalm 22:15 “…my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.” (NIV). The soldiers had yet to give Jesus drink to slake His thirst and He caused them to do it by speaking up.
It is a mercy when a loved one slips into a coma during their worst suffering. Their facial muscles relax and we imagine they are blissfully unaware of the trauma they are enduring.
Jesus’ suffering was fully felt and we see the clarity of His mind as He obviously has rehearsed all the prophecies of His passion and came upon the verses mentioned above that spoke of His thirst and the people’s response. Jesus suffering was fully experienced because He was clearly conscious and aware of everything that happened.
Even when so preoccupied with His spiritual and physical suffering Jesus’ desire was that the many prophecies about His first coming would all be fulfilled. His obedience to the will of the Father was complete in every detail.
It is quite remarkable that Jesus fulfilled everything concerning Himself. He is clearly faithful to all that He had to do. Nothing was missed. Does this not give us great confidence when praying to Him for grace to keep us in our times of need?
He said to His people that He would never leave them or forsake them. He will surely keep His word and fulfil this promise. Is this promise of having Jesus with you at all times for you? Are you one of His people who can cling to this bedrock truth? If you are not one of His people, why not? He asks you to come and be blessed. Come today.